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Débat général de l'AG - Déclarations - Communiqué de presse (extraits) Français
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Source: General Assembly
1 October 2007


General Assembly
GA/10626

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-second General Assembly
Plenary
12th & 13th Meetings (AM & PM)


INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY SHOULD OFFER SUPPORT, NOT CONDITIONS IN ‘RISKY’ QUEST
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As Israelis and Palestinians took the risks for peace, they looked to the international community and the Arab and Muslim world to offer support, rather than stipulate conditions, Tzipi Livni, Israel’s Foreign Minister told the General Assembly’s annual general debate today.

Calling for help in “confronting those determined to prevent us from succeeding”, especially extremists undermining democracy, tolerance and education –- fundamental values of every modern society -- she said: “It is clear that the Middle East conflict is not a ‘cause’ of this global extremist agenda, but a consequence of it.”  Israel was prepared for the “territorial compromise” necessary in order to reach a true peace agreement with the Palestinian people.  “But we also know -– especially after withdrawing from Lebanon and Gaza -- that territorial withdrawal by itself will not bring peace, unless we address the core clash of values that lies beneath the conflict,” she added.

While acknowledging the territorial dimension to the Arab-Israeli conflict, she said that, at its heart, the dispute was not about territory, but about values and confronting those who sought power without responsibility.  It was, indeed, up to the parties in the Middle East to settle their political conflict, but for success to be genuine and lasting, the nations of the world must be partners in a shared global struggle against extremism and terror that fed conflict, “for your sake, not just for ours”.

Warning that extremists in many places were entering the democratic process, not to abandon their violent agenda, but to advance it, she said it was time for the international community to reclaim democracy, and called for the adoption of a universal set of standards for participation in genuine democratic elections.  Such a code would require all those seeking the legitimacy of the democratic process to earn it by respecting such principles as State monopoly over the lawful use of force, rejection of racism and violence, and protection of the rights of others.  Such groups as Hamas and Hizbullah must be presented with a clear choice -- between the path of violence and that of legitimacy.  “They cannot have both," she stressed.

She also called for the enhancement and deepening of regional ties and cooperation between Israel and the Arab world, while advancing in parallel towards Israeli-Palestinian peace.  That must be based on two States -- Israel and Palestine -- living side by side, with Palestine established as “the homeland and the national answer for the Palestinian people, including the refugees”.  Just as a viable and prosperous Palestine in the West Bank and Gaza was an Israeli interest, so a secure Israel must be a Palestinian interest.

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Background

The General Assembly reconvened this morning to continue its general debate.

Statements

TZIPI LIVNI, Vice Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Israel, recalled that every year at this time her people remembered the long march 3,000 years ago from slavery in Egypt to independence in Israel and that the long march to freedom required the acceptance of humanity’s basic values.  For 60 years, since the rebirth of Israel in its ancient homeland, it had not lost sight of that principle that -– the core values of tolerance, co-existence and peace that lay at the heart of democracy must be protected.  The conflict in her region was driven by those who rejected such values, who sought power without responsibility and whose aim was to deny those rights for others.  There was a territorial dimension to the conflict, and Israel had proven in the past it was prepared for the territorial compromise that lasting peace would entail.  However, territorial withdrawal alone would not bring peace; the core clash of values beneath the conflict must be addressed. 

The notion that the battle was local had collapsed in New York with the twin towers six years ago, she said.  Today, it was clear that extremists were engaged in a bloody war against civilians, and further, that the Middle East conflict was a consequence –- not a cause -– of the global extremist agenda.  It was up to Middle East parties to settle their conflict, and Israel desired to do that.

In that spirit, she spoke about the wider battle waged against democracy, tolerance and education -- the pillars of every modern society.  Extremists, opposed to such ideals, were entering democratic processes to advance their violent agenda.  Reclaiming democracy must begin with the rejection of those who abused it, as no true democracy allowed armed militia, or group’s racist agendas, to participate in elections.  She urged the international community to adopt at the global level what democracies applied at the national one:  a universal set of standards for participation in genuine democratic elections.

She called for a “universal democratic code” requiring those seeking the legitimacy of the democratic process to earn it.  The goal was to make clear that participation was not just a right, but a responsibility.  While emphasizing a respect for difference, she said a disservice was done to diversity when, in its name, “we tolerate the intolerant”.  Groups such as Hamas and Hizbullah must be presented with a clear choice –- between the path of violence and that of legitimacy.  That same choice must be presented to the radical regime in Iran, the most prominent sponsor of terrorism and major source of instability across the Middle East.  None disagreed that, it spoke openly of its desire to wipe a Member State –- Israel -– off the map and that, in violation of Security Council resolutions, it was pursuing the means to achieve that end.

There were those, in the name of consensus, who continued to obstruct the steps needed to bring Iran’s “sinister” ambitions to a halt, she said.  What was the value of an organization unable to take effective action in the face of a direct assault on the very principles it was founded to protect? she asked.  It was time for the United Nations to live up to its promise of “never again”, and moreover, for the Human Rights Council to promote the same moral conviction so that it would become a “shield for the victims of human rights, not a weapon for its abusers”.  So long as that Council maintained its wildly disproportionate focus on Israel, the United Nations moral voice was weakened and the price of that blindness was paid by victims in Darfur and Myanmar.

There was no more accurate forecast for the future of society than the lessons it taught to children, she said.  Unfortunately, in her region, children’s television taught of the glory of suicide bombers and religion was being abused as a call to arms.  God once again was being dragged onto the battlefield.  A younger generation could not be expected to value what “we are not prepared ourselves to protect”.

The Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation was not about deciding who was right or wrong in the past; rather it was about sharing a common vision and responsibility for the future, she stressed.  As Israeli Prime Minster Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Territory President Mahmoud Abbas had engaged in a genuine effort to reach the widest possible common ground, there was no substitute for the bilateral process.  The foundation for true peace lay in the vision of two States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security.  Just as Israel was homeland to Jewish people, Palestine would be the homeland to Palestinian people, including refugees.  Just as a viable Palestine in the West Bank and Gaza was an Israeli interest, so to must a secure Israel be a Palestinian interest. 

It was important set sights on a bright future, while, at the same time, change the reality on the ground, to show that the promise of peace “exists in practice, not just on paper”.  Progress was possible in those areas where an effective Palestinian Government accepted the Quartet principles and implemented, alongside Israel, existing Road Map obligations.  She called on the Arab and Muslim world in particular to offer support, thorough economic and political assistance to the new Palestinian Government; the clear endorsement of any political understandings reached between the parties; and the deepening regional cooperation between the Arab world and Israel.

“We must stand up to those who have no respect for human life or human liberty”, who held Israeli soldiers captive, and, who after Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza, targeted Israeli homes with missiles.  Despite such obstacles, there was a “new moment of opportunity”, but time was of the essence.  “We owe it to ourselves and to our children to find both the courage and the wisdom to make the right choices in the right way”, he said.

JEAN PING, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs, for French speaking Cooperation and Regional Integration of Gabon, and former President of the General Assembly, ...

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Reform of the United Nations was essential to addressing the numerous, complex international crises facing the international community, he said.  The Security Council must be reformed.  He highlighted crises in Africa and the Middle East. ... On another issue, he said that only a two-country solution could resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and leant support for an international conference under the aegis of the Quartet to restart direct negotiations.  ...

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HOR NAMHONG, Deputy Prime Minister of Cambodia, ...

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On the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he said Cambodia hoped diplomatic initiatives would lead to the establishment of a State of Palestine, which could peacefully exist side by side with Israel.  ...

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THONGLOUN SISOULITH, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, ...

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... He expressed concern for the Palestinian, Lebanese and Iraqi peoples’ suffering because of the persistent violence in the Middle East, and reaffirmed the country’s support for the establishment of an independent “State of Palestine”, living in peace beside Israel. 

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SAYYID BADR BIN HAMAD ALBUSAIDI, Secretary-General of the Foreign Ministry of Oman, said the willingness of the international community to solve the Israeli-Arab conflict, by establishing a Palestinian State positively signalled nations’ interests in peace, despite inconclusive solutions in Iraq, Darfur and Somalia.  Arab countries had continually reiterated that achieving peace with Israel and returning security to the region relied on Israel’s withdrawal to the borders occupied since 1967, which included the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Syrian Golan Heights and Shebaa Farms.  The global community held an important role in ensuring that.

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WALID AL-MOUALEM, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Syria, said the Israeli occupation of Arab territories in the Middle East had created an arena of daunting challenges and heightened tensions, and asked the Assembly what it had done in the past year to defuse those tensions.  The prevailing trends had not changed:  Israeli occupation of Arab lands continued as did the denial of legitimate Palestinian rights.

He said the Israeli aggression against Syria on 6 September 2007 was proof of that country’s desire to escalate tensions in the region and the failure of the international community to condemn it would only encourage Israel and lead to an exacerbation of tensions.  Peace could never be achieved in the Middle East as long as the international community failed to identify a concrete strategy for peace, including its purpose, terms of reference and time frames.  The Syrian Government had repeatedly stressed that peace was its strategic choice.  “ Syria has the will to make a genuine peace that would recover the usurped rights, return the land to its rightful owners and guarantee peace for all.”  Did the Israeli or American Governments have that same will?  “Regrettably, actions and realities suggest otherwise,” he said.

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ENKHBOLD NYAMAA, Foreign Affairs Minister of Mongolia, ...

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Although many in the United Nations came from countries not ravaged by conflicts, in this age of globalization, no nation was unaffected by them, he said.  Record oil prices triggered by the situation in the Middle East had taken a toll on vulnerable and commodity-dependant economies, such as Mongolia.  More importantly, the ordinary people of the Middle East had suffered the greatest.  The international community had an obligation to deliver a promise of peace and security to Iraq, Israel and Palestine. 

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AICHATOU MINDAODOU, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and African Integration of Niger, ...

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Turning to the Middle East situation, which was dominated by the Israel-Palestine conflict, she called for greater focus, as resumption of the political process was the only way to move towards a lasting and fair solution.  The Quartet Road Map and the Arab Peace Plan remained solid frames of reference, ...

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KAREL DE GUCHT, Foreign Minister of Belgium, ...

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... In the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, neither the continuation of firing rockets at the Israeli population, nor the deterioration of the living conditions of the Gaza Strip, were acceptable.  The regular meetings between Palestinian and Israeli leaders were encouraging and he expressed hope for tangible advances at the international meeting planned for the end of the year.

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DOMINIQUE MAMBERTI, Secretary for Relations with States for the Holy See, ...

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... In the Middle East, he remembered United Nations contributions to finding a definitive solution to long simmering conflicts.  Renewed commitment was needed from all Member countries in Iraqi reconstruction efforts.  That was true also for Israeli-Palestinian dialogue, which must recognize the legitimate expectations of each side, and in ensuring that Lebanon continued to exist as an independent country with a multicultural society -- “like a common home open to others”.  ...

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MOURAD MEDELCI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Algeria, ...

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The world faced new forms of destabilization and threats to peace and security that required a global mobilization in order to respond collectively and firmly, he said.  Algeria, which had been a victim of terrorism and paid the heavy price of international indifference in the 1990s, could appreciate the growing urgency to prevent and eliminate that grave threat.  It had supported the Global Anti-Terrorism Strategy adopted by the General Assembly in 2006 and called on Member States immediately to fight terrorism, not by means of force, but also by addressing its underlying causes and arriving at a fair resolution, notably with regard to the Middle East conflict.  However, a clear definition of terrorism was needed that was clearly disassociated from the legitimate fight against occupation and from any cultural or religious connection.  Meaningful dialogue among cultures and civilizations would help eliminate prejudice and stereotypes, and reinforce mutual understanding.

Noting that the Middle East situation was deteriorating, he said his country was pleased with the latest proposal by United States President George W. Bush regarding an international peace conference.  ...

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ABUBAKR A. AL-QIRBI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Yemen, ...

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On the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he said the Palestinian people were suffering under Israeli violence in violation of the United Nations Charter, international law and humanitarian law.  The Arab Peace Initiative could help solve the problem.  It was to be hoped that the United States would abide by the objective of creating two States living side by side in the region.  Yemen emphasized the importance of all parties participating in the upcoming conference proposed by the United States, and urged unity among all the Palestinian people.

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ABDURRAHMAN MOHAMED SHALGHAM, Secretary of the General People’s Committee for Foreign Liaison and International Cooperation of Libya, ...

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Turning to the Middle East, he said, the Israeli occupation of the Golan Heights and the Lebanese Shebaa Farms continued to destabilize peace in the region and was sufficient justification for the outbreak of war at any moment.  The situation in Palestine necessitated measures by the international community to oblige the occupation forces to withdraw immediately from all occupied Arab lands.  Iraq also required an urgent United Nations initiative to solve its own crisis, ensure the withdrawal of foreign troops and restore the country’s stability and sovereignty.

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Right of Reply

The representative of Iran, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said that, rather than his own country, Israel was the source of the most urgent threat facing the Middle East today, and the international community should counter that threat decisively.  The fact that Israel was breaking international law and many Security Council resolutions was known to all, as was its record on issues of State terrorism and the rights of people living under occupation.  The attempt by the Israeli regime to raise human rights issues against others was nothing but a distraction.  It was indisputable that the nuclear weapons in its hands represented a real threat and required the action of the international community.

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For information media • not an official record

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